September 26, 2012, 12:51 PM — So many projects, so much mismanagement. That's the refrain of many IT executives. Indeed, even with project management software, IT projects often wind up taking longer (much longer) than planned and costing more than budgeted.
Why do good projects go bad? CIO.com surveyed dozens of IT executives and project managers and came up with a list of 12 Common Project Management Mistakes -- along with ways to avoid these often time-consuming and potentially costly problems.
Project Management Mistake No. 1: Not Assigning the Right Person to Manage the Project. "Typically during resource allocation, most of the effort is focused on finding the right resources other than finding the right project manager," explains Sudhir Verma, vice president of the Consulting Services & Project Management Office at Force 3, a technology solutions provider. Indeed, too often "project managers get picked based on availability, not necessarily on skill set." However, an inadequately trained and/or inexperienced project manager can doom a project.
Solution: Choose a project manager whose skill set(s) match the project requirements.
Project Management Mistake No. 2: Failing to Get Everyone on the Team Behind the Project. Too often, projects are doomed to fail because they didn't get enough support from the departments and people affected by and involved in the project. Either managers: "1) Didn't make clear what everyone's role was. 2) Didn't describe the personal payoff everyone would get when the project was completed successfully. 3) Didn't tell how each person's contributions to the project would be evaluated. And/or 4) Failed to generate a sense of urgency about the project, leading the team to think business as usual will be fine," argues Bill Rosenthal, CEO of Communispond, which provides employee training on how to communicate effectively.
Solution: "The project manager should start by calling the team together (being certain to include off-site staff via the best technology available) and delivering a presentation about the project and its significance in a way that gets everybody fired up."
Project Management Mistake No. 3: Not Getting Executive Buy-in.
Solution: "Somebody at the higher levels of the organization needs to own the project from start to finish and be personally vested in its success," says Casey Halloran, co-founder and chief marketing officer, Costa Rican Vacations & Panama Luxury Vacations. "When [a project] has no clear head, things tend to fall apart."